Baby of Mine
A 6-year-old girl who was allegedly kidnapped as a newborn and was thought to have died in a fire was returned to her mother Monday.For Cuevas to recognize the six-year old as her daughter, she must never have believed that her newborn had been killed in the fire. Although not included in this account of the story, evidently Cuevas had the presence of mind to create a spur of the moment ruse in which she told the little girl that she had gum in her hair and while removing the phantom gum, she collected a few head hairs that were used for DNA analysis.
Luzaida Cuevas quickly ushered the girl through a back door into her Northeast Philadelphia home as night fell. The girl, dressed in a blue hooded jacket and pink pants, giggled but did not speak.
Cuevas, 31, and the child she named Delimar Vera were officially reunited Monday afternoon at state family services offices in Burlington County, N.J., the mother's attorney, Alexander Murphy Jr., said in a statement. The family planned a 'small, private gathering of friends and family' to celebrate, he said.
Police allege that a relative, Carolyn Correa, snatched the 10-day-old girl from her crib in December 1997, torched the house to cover her crime and raised the infant as her own.
Correa, a cousin by marriage of the girl's father, is charged with arson, kidnapping and 13 other counts. Correa, 42, of Willingboro, N.J., has been held on $1 million bail since her arrest March 2.
Cuevas said she instantly recognized the girl as her daughter at a Jan. 24 birthday party. DNA tests established that Cuevas and Pedro Vera were the girl's biological parents, police said.